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UTB Countdown: No. 4 Luciano de Castro

PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2023 Unleash The Beast series begins this weekend with the PBR Monster Energy Invitational in Tucson, Arizona (Nov. 26-27).

Round 1 from Tucson Arena airs exclusively on RidePass on Pluto TV at 8:45 p.m. ET before CBS Sports Network carries all the action on Championship Sunday (4 p.m. ET).

PBR.com will be counting down the final days leading up to the UTB season opener by looking back at the Top 5 bull riders at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Today, we look at No. 4, Luciano de Castro.

No. 4 Luciano de Castro

World Championships: 0
Best World Standings Finish: 4 (2022)

2022 Premier Series (UTB) Stats
Rides: 23
Attempts: 52
Riding Percentage: 44.2%
Top Ride: 91.25 points on Montana Jacket (World Finals)
Average Ride Score: 87.90
Wins: 0
15/15 Bucking Battle Victories: 1 (Nampa, Idaho)
Round Wins: 6
Top 5: 2
Top 10: 4
90-point Rides: 6

2022 UTB/Team Series Recap: Luciano de Castro finished a career-best fourth in the 2022 world standings as he returned to world title contention following back-to-back No. 46 finishes in the world standings.

Castro finished fourth at the 2022 PBR World Finals by going 5-for-8 with back-to-back 90-point rides, including a season-high 91.25 points on Montana Jacket. The 2015 PBR Brazil champion set a career-high with six 90-point rides in 2022, and the Arizona Ridge Riders selected Castro with the No. 6 selection of the PBR Team Series Draft. Castro’s 23 qualified rides was tied for fourth-most on the UTB.

The 26-year-old blossomed even further under the coaching of Paulo Crimber and Colby Yates. Castro was the only rider in the league to compete in every game for his team and finished fourth in the MVP race (18-for-35).

Castro led Arizona to a second-place finish at the PBR Team Series Championship, going 3-for-4. In the championship game, Castro rode Montana Jacket once again for 91.25 points, but Arizona would lose 264-182.75 to the Nashville Stampede.

2023 Outlook: Castro could very well be a sleeper pick for the 2023 World Championship. He has improved his free-arm positioning thanks to the coaching of Crimber and Yates and could be poised to take the next step in his career.

Castro has appeared at the World Finals five times in his career, and he has matured to the point where he is ready for high-pressure situations. Castro rode 51.43% of his bulls on the PBR Team Series compared to 44.2% on the UTB, but that came with his coaches matching him up with favorable bulls. Castro, who also ended Marquis Metal Works Coriolis Effect’s buckoff streak (21) in Sacramento, California, could very well find himself in contention for the 2023 World Championship if he can ride 50% or more with the random draw of the Unleash The Beast.

Health will be something to monitor with Castro as well. His struggles in 2020 and 2021 were partly because of injuries to his hip, knee, groin, and ribs and a collapsed lung. He had to miss five months in 2021 because of a reconstructive right knee surgery, and things were so bad that he, at one point, thought about packing up his bags and moving back home to Brazil. Castro has since returned to a clean bill of health and a full head of confidence.

Castro, though, will be starting the season behind the eight ball as he is not competing in Tucson and is currently visiting family in Brazil.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Photo courtesy of Todd Brewer/Bull Stock Media

© 2022 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.

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